Friday, June 10, 2005

NYT: Bully Boy "Urges Congress to Keep Patriot Act Intact" (David Stout)

President Bush offered a ringing defense today of a much debated law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks, asserting that it has not stepped on civil liberties, as its critics contend, but has protected America from terrorist threats.
[. . .]
Senator Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Mr. Bush's speech amounted to "a classic bait and switch."
"He once again ignored bipartisan concerns about the Patriot Act and presented a false choice to the American people - that we have to reauthorize the Patriot Act without any changes or leave our country vulnerable to terrorist attacks," Mr. Feingold said. He said many lawmakers in both parties had concluded that portions of the act infringed on freedom.

The above is from David Stout's "Bush Urges Congress to Keep Patriot Act Intact" in this morning's New York Times. Lot of quotes from the Bully Boy. Feingold has to stand for everyone concerned. (Feingold's statements, as printed in the paper, are above in full.) Ron Wyden has discussed the medical aspect publicly this week (Monday, in fact). Wyden's not in the article. Lot of Bully Boy stumbling around for words and offering up what he can muster without any challenges. Stout also fails to "connect the dots" in terms of noting that there's still no board set up, after all this time, to oversee and ensure that civil liberties are protected. Did I miss the Times write up on the 9-11 commissioner's new panel that held the public hearing this week?

No, I didn't. Because while the Times did give a heads up, they failed to report on the public hearing. Now granted the paper seems to feel it's pretty damn important that we know daily details of the Michael Jackson hearing and goodness knows they steno pool is busy taking down the jottings of the Bully Boy each chance they get. But considering how the paper hyped and promoted and endorsed the 9-11 commission's findings (book tie-in, really now), if and when another attack comes and the media does their few minutes of hand wringing, make sure the Times gets a moment at the mike to ask "how could we?"

It's meaingless, it was last time and we quickly returned to the fluff of missing blondes and celebrity scandals and life style stories (all the media). But the Times' failure to report on this week's public hearing is more than surprising. I really don't think our country will see any benefits from the repeated (usually five times a week) reporting on the Jackson case. But the Times has chosen to push that nonsense repeatedly.

In a similar waste of time, Alan Cowell reports on the mood in England. Now that wouldn't be a problem. Certainly as the Times stumbled around (willfully) in the dark regarding the Downing St. Memo published in the Sunday Times of London on May 1st, Alan Cowell could have reported on the "mood" in England over that. The New York Times still hasn't reported on the Times of London's May 29th article that in 2002, England and the US upped the bombings in an attempt to force Saddam Hussein to strike back (thereby starting the invasion/occupation much sooner). So is Cowell telling us about the "mood" on that?

No, he and the Times (New York) feel it's much more important to tell us about Cherie Booth (Tony Blair's spouse) speaking engagement here and how some of Booth's usual critics in England are in an uproar over the payment she received. It's not news. It's not even good gossip.

But the Times finds a way to tease it out into an eighteen paragraph article. It's the sort of "in depth" piece on an "issue" one expects to see explored in the New York Post. Somehow it made it into the Times.

Francisco e-mails to wonder if possibly this item in "World Briefings" might not be important than all the gossip about Cherie Booth:

The new police chief of the violent border city of Nuevo Laredo, Alejandro Domínguez Coello, was shot to death as he left his office on Wednesday night, after only seven hours on the job. Mr. Domínguez, 51, was the head of the local Chamber of Commerce when he agreed to take the job as chief, which was opened when José Valdés left for a City Council post in May. Drug smuggling has transformed the border city into a war zone where violent death is common. Antonio Betancourt (NYT)

Krista also notes "World Briefings" online and wonders about this item:

A federal court upheld the acquittal of Abdelghani Mzoudi, left, a Moroccan accused of links to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. His acquittal by a court in Hamburg in 2004 was decided partly by a United States refusal to permit Ramzi bin al-Shibh, suspected of being a leader of the Sept. 11 plot and held in American custody, to testify. Though his acquittal was upheld, the authorities said they would deport him within two weeks. According to The Associated Press, Moroccan authorities have said they have no warrants for Mr. Mzoudi, and United States officials have refused comment on whether they are interested in him. Kirsten Grieshaber (NYT)

Krista: "Left"? There's no photo online. But "left" indicates to me that there was supposed to be and that this was supposed to be a longer item. Did we lose out on this story, a news story, so Cowell could gab and dish about Tony Blair's wife for paragaraph after paragraph? If they're running a photo, that suggests it's an important item.

Apparently we did, Krista, apparently we did.

In terms of real issues, the kind that effect our lives, George e-mails to note David E. Rosenbaum's "Lawmakers Inch Along in Tackling Social Security:"

After the meeting, the second-ranking Republican on the committee, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, said the Senate was unlikely to approve legislation that included investment accounts financed by Social Security taxes.
"I don't think we're going to get it," Mr. Hatch said. "We can't get even one Democrat, and some Republicans won't go along either."
Asked whether he thought his committee would advance a Social Security bill in the next month, Mr. Grassley said he hoped so but added, "Time slips."
This is one example of how the top item on the president's domestic policy agenda is faltering, heading into two months of intense legislative maneuvering that is likely to determine its fate.
Another indication came on Wednesday when, for the first time, Representative Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican who is the majority leader, hinted that action on Social Security might not be in the cards in the House this year.

(FYI, the above story? It gets thirteen paragraphs. Five less than the gossip over Cherie Booth.) (Or to cite the Times' most recent "nationally important" coverage of the Jackson trial -- jury deliberations -- four less paragraphs than that article received.)

Avoid Anne E. Kornblut's "With Remarks, Dean Stirs Criticism from Both Parties." Not just because she tosses around the "scientific terms" "red states" (she apparently thinks she's in the fashion section or else needs to use "lingo") and that kind of nonsense alone will enrage community members. But also because, if there's a clue out there, she can't find it.
Ben notes this in his section in his e-mail:

The criticism escalated last weekend, as several leading Democrats - especially former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, both prospective presidential candidates - openly expressed disapproval of Dr. Dean's comments.
Republicans also pounced on his remarks. Senator Gordon H. Smith, Republican of Oregon, denounced them on the Senate floor on Wednesday. "This kind of hate speech really doesn't have a productive place in our political discourse in this country," Mr. Smith said.

In fact it's popular with others (such as Portland and Wendy whom Smith represents -- both of whom laugh at his use of "hate speech"). Ben asks what makes a one term senator who was on a losing presidential ticket a "leading Democrat?" I have no idea. Nor is the Edwards and Dean conflict new (apparently the whole world missed their earlier conflict in the debate -- now granted Sharpton stepped in and that's what most people focused on, but Dean and Edwards have never been public "buds"). As for Biden? Maybe a word dropped out? Maybe it meant to read "leading cribbers who happen to be Democrats?" Biden's not going to live that down. He couldn't make it through his declared run because of it. But breezy, chatty reporting won't ever bring up those details.

The nonsense of the problems with fundraising have been dealt with by Liberal Oasis and Interesting Times as well as Katrina vanden Heuvel (whom I forgot to mention Wednesday night, my apologies). But the article feels the need (fourl days after gas bag Cokie Roberts has already weighed in with "conventional wisdom") to explore that as well. Or to offer it in a some say/others say manner that's neither informative or insightful. And of course, there's nothing about the fact that Dean's doing what this community said needed to be done -- work on the party infrastructure in the states.

Billie e-mails to note that Howard Dean will be her area (Dallas/Fort Worth) Friday, June 17.

Billie: He's out there. He's going around pulling together the party members and getting them excited and motivated. There's no indication that Kornblut grasps that fact. But I don't believe the inbred circles are talking about. I can tell you that I'm excited about that. I can tell you that I could care less what John Edwards or Joe Biden think about Howard Dean.

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[Note: This entry has been corrected. First Anne E. Kornblutt's name has been spelled correctly now. My apologies for that -- and that's sincere, I do belive writers deserve proper credit for their work -- regardless of what I think of it -- which is something the press might want to consider the next time the Oscars roll around and they "cover" and "predict" on nominations but fail to acknowledge the people writing the scripts. Second, Krista's "online" was omitted from her entry. I think that was my mistake -- it wasn't Krista's. I was tired this morning and will gladly cop to it. However, the line merged which usually means it's a Blogger problem and as many of you have noted, the Democracy Now! post went up, then vanished, then went up again -- it was e-mailed again -- then disappeared. It's currently up. If it disappears again, I'll do it from the computer and not via e-mail. Also note, for some reason there is a "repeat" at the top of the post -- title and date. I have no idea why that's happening. Lastly, links to Liberal Oasis, Interesting Times and KvH were added. No, no link to a Times story was added. If I mess up -- and I did on that -- you go to their web site, if you want to read more, and you search by title, author or phrase from a sentence.]